"Heroes with grimy faces" - Sir Winston Churchill

"Heroes with grimy faces" - Sir Winston Churchill

January 26, 2010

HARROW - 1952

Photos: This is London, Red Cross
Harrow rail disaster - Oct. 8, 1952

On Oct. 8, 1952 a London-bound express train missed a yellow signal and careened into the rear of a stationary local train in northwest London. Then, a third train - outbound from from Euston - crashed into the wreckage, according to the BBC.

The disaster at the Harrow and Wealdstone rail station killed 112 people and injured hundreds more. The London-bound express was running at between 50 and 60 mph.

"It was horrible and a big mess," retired London firefighter David Glennie recalled in an interview published in the Harrow Observer on Aug. 21, 2008.

John Bannister, a passenger on the local, told The Times:

"It all happened in a second. There was a terrible crash and glass and debris showered on me. I blacked out for a moment and when I came round I found I was lying on the line with debris on top of me. I managed to free myself and drag myself on to the platform."

According to Wikipedia:

  • The local from Tring to Euston was made up of nine coaches.
  • The express from Perth to Euston consisted of 11 cars, which included four sleepers.
  • The train from Euston to Liverpool and Manchester consisted of 15 cars.

Of the fatalities "it was believed that 64 fatalities occurred in the local train, 23 in the Perth express and 7 in the Liverpool train. Another 14 could not be ascertained, but probably occurred among passengers on the station platforms or footbridge," according to Wikipedia.